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Stop! Stop! It is the Emperor! But as she was getting out, he descended from his sledge and hastened to prevent her, saying with a most gracious air that his orders did not apply to foreigners, above all, not to Mme. Le Brun. She also used to write letters to the holy Virgin, which she hid in a dovecote, in which she always found answers, supposed to be written by her priest. On one occasion she complained that the way of addressing her, Ma chre Marchale, was not quite respectful in une petite bourgeoise de Nazereth, but observed that as she was the mother of our Saviour she must not be exacting; besides, St. Joseph belonged to the royal house of David, and she added, I have always thought St. Joseph must have belonged to a younger branch, sunk by injustice or misfortune.

[260]

Un magistrat homme de bien, Of the Dauphine, Marie-Josphe de Saxe, as well as of his father, their son the Comte de Provence, afterwards Louis XVIII., writes in his Memoirs as follows: His pure soul could not rest on this earth, his crown was not of this world, and he died young. France had to mourn the premature death of a prince, who, if he had lived might perhaps have saved the kingdom from the catastrophe of a blood-stained revolution, and his family from exile and the scaffold.

The abbey was very beautiful, and there were more than a hundred nuns besides the lay sisters and the pensionnaires (children and young girls being educated there).

I particularly wished to see you, to warn you that you must take great care that your future wife never forgets what will be due from her to the Dauphine. Their two houses are divided, but all rivalry must be forgotten here, which would disturb the tranquillity of Versailles, and would supremely displease me. I know that you have sense beyond your age, therefore I flatter myself that you will not [278] do, nor allow to be done, anything with regard to the Dauphine which might displease her. Besides, your brother would not suffer it; he loves his wife, and is determined that she shall be respected as she deserves. Keep watch, therefore, upon yours; in fact, see that things go on in such a manner that I am not obliged to interfere.

Mme. Le Brun painted a remarkable portrait of Mlle. Fries, the great bankers daughter, as Sappho, she being an excellent musician. Also of the Baron and Baroness Strogonoff with whom she became very intimate.